The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 23, 2015
Today, President Obama will host over 200 bipartisan Mayors during their annual U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Winter Meeting. At this year’s convening, the President will build on the issues discussed in his State of the Union Address and priorities outlines for cities across the country. Administration officials will discuss ways in which we can continue to partner with cities to raise wages and incomes, to strengthen the standing of working families in a new economy and to bolster and expand the middle class.
On Wednesday and Thursday at the US Conference of Mayors Vice President Biden, the co-chairs of the 21st century policing task force, and members of the cabinet addressed the mayors on a range of issues. Today at the White House, Dr. Jill Biden, cabinet members and senior White House officials, interacted with the Mayors in plenary sessions and panel discussions on priority issues, including: trade, manufacturing, veterans homelessness, paid sick leave, climate change, affordable healthcare, workforce development, education, My Brother’s Keeper, and immigration.
Below are some of the ways Mayors are helping to make the President’s agenda a reality in cities across the country.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING AND TECH INNOVATION: PAVING THE WAY FOR JOBS AND SKILLS OF THE FUTURE
Mayors are creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to make the next world-changing product, students interested in hands-on engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and companies hoping to manufacture their products with American workers passionate about the latest manufacturing technologies. Through the Mayors’ Maker Challenge cities like Columbus, OH, Louisville, KY Scottsdale, AZ, Rockford, IL, Portland, OR, and South Bend, IN are changing the landscape of American manufacturing in small towns and big cities. In June, at the White House Maker Faire, the President highlighted new efforts of more than 100 mayors. The Administration aligning more than $1.3B in resources to help mayors pursue strong strategies to win manufacturing investment through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). And in Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, Knoxville, TN, Raleigh, NC, and Youngstown, OH, new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes are pursuing cutting edge research in advanced manufacturing while attracting investment to the region. Below are specific examples of the work mayors are doing in the advanced manufacturing and tech sectors:Rochester, NY Mayor Lovely Warren (D) led an effort to bring in 120 photonics manufacturers and more than 500 patents to the Greater Rochester community, one of the first Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designees.
- Chattanooga, TN Mayor Andy Berke (D) invested in one gigabit per second broadband network and attracted at least five organized funds with investable capital of over $50 million.
- In Louisville, KY through our workforce development efforts, Mayor Greg Fischer is significantly expanding the availability and lowering the cost of IT training through partnerships with the private sector. And in Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard worked with his city council and the private sector to launch an effort that will invest over $40 million in quality early childhood education programs.
IMMIGRATION: IMPLEMENTING THE PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ACTIONS IN CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Cities have taken significant steps to defend and prepare for the implementation of the President’s executive actions on immigration, which will strengthen border security, hold potentially millions of undocumented immigrants accountable, and boost wages and our economy. Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) and Cities for Citizenship are two initiatives helping to organize mayors to partner with business, faith, and law enforcement officials; and host information sessions.
Over the next few weeks, in partnership with the National Immigration Forum, Fwd.us, and CUIA, mayors will host over 14 informational sessions in cities across the country including Phoenix, AZ, Boston, MA and Austin, TX.
EDUCATION: FURTHERING THE PRESIDENT’S EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AGENDA
Since the President laid out his proposal to expand early childhood education in his 2013 State of the Union Address, cities have taken significant steps to expand high-quality preschool in their communities. Cities such as Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, Boston, MA, Cleveland, OH and San Francisco, CA have leveraged federal funding, public-private partnership, and ballot initiatives to expand pre-school. On December 10, ED and HHS announced over 750 million in grants to help communities increase the quality and seats of pre-school programs. On December 11, over 90 mayors signed a letter to Congress supporting the President’s proposal and asking Congress to take action
- New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) secured $300 million in state funding to expand free, high-quality, full-day pre-k for nearly 51,000 children.
- Indianapolis, IN Mayor Greg Ballard (R) led an effort in Indianapolis City-County Council that authorized a $40 million public-private partnership that will allow more than 1,000 low-income children to have access to high-quality preschool starting in 2016.
VETERANS HOMELESSNESS: MARSHALING EFFORTS TO END HOMELESSNESS FOR OUR VETERANS
Through the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, local leaders across the country are ending Veteran homelessness in their communities. Since First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge on June 4, 2014, 313 mayors and 101 county and city officials have signed on to the challenge. On August 26, 2014, President Obama announced a 33 percent decrease in Veteran homelessness since 2010. This progress includes a 43 percent decrease in the number of veterans sleeping on the streets.
- New Orleans, LA Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) one of the first Mayors to answer the First Lady’s call and sign on to the Mayors Challenge, fast-tracked local efforts to connect every homeless veteran with permanent housing. On January 7, 2015 New Orleans became the first major U.S. city to end homelessness among Veterans.
- Houston, TX Mayor Annise Parker (D), Phoenix, AZ Mayor Greg Stanton (D) and Salt Lake City, UT Mayor Ralph Becker (D) are poised to reach their goal by the end 2015.
MINIMUM WAGE AND THE WORKING FAMILIES AGENDA: EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES
Since the President’s 2013 State of the Union Address, 25 local jurisdictions have taken action to raise wages. Thirteen cities and counties, including Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, MD, Sea-Tac, WA, Berkeley, CA, Las Cruces, NM, Oakland, CA, Sunnyvale, CA, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL approved city-wide increases in minimum wage for both public and private employee. Twelve other cities and counties including St. Louis, Ypsilanti, MI, Santa Monica, CA, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, WI, Jackson, MS, and St. Petersburg, FL raised wages to $10.10 or higher for their city workers or contractors. A number of cities already enacted laws allowing workers to earn and accrue sick leave, including Portland, OR, New York, NY Newark, NJ, San Diego, CA, Eugene, OR, and Oakland, CA.
More than 65 mayors signed a letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity Task Force, co-chaired by New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Boston, MA Mayor Martin Walsh (D), urging Congress to raise the minimum wage.
- St. Paul, MN Mayor Chris Coleman (D) allocated $200,000 from his 2015 budget for paid leave for city employees.
CLIMATE AND ENERGY: LAUNCHING NEW PROGRAMS AND POLICIES ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting consumes enough energy to power 6 million homes for a year, costing cities about $10 billion per year. That is why today, we are launching a Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting. As part of The Challenge the Department of Energy is tripling our goal of upgrading 500,000 poles, which we are already on track to exceed through DOE’s Better Buildings program, and setting a new goal of 1.5 million poles. Through the Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, the Presidential Challenge for Outdoor Lighting will work with dozens of municipalities to accelerate the adoption and use of high efficiency outdoor lighting, driving carbon pollution reductions in communities across the Nation. Using today’s new technologies, these system-wide lighting exchanges can help local governments cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50% or more.
Today’s announcement comes with commitments from 2 states, 10 cities, and 3 regional networks to replace their outdoor lighting poles with more efficient technologies including: the Mid-American Regional Council; Huntington Beach, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Little Rock Arkansas; and Detroit, Michigan; Southern California Regional Energy Network; Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources; Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Dearborn, Michigan; Saint Petersburg, Florida; San Diego, California; Los Angeles, California; and the State of Tennessee.
President’s Climate Action Champions
In December, the President recognized 16 communities as Climate Action Champions for their leadership on climate change. This diverse group of communities are defining the frontier of ambitious climate action, and their approaches will serve as a model for other communities to follow. The President’s Climate Action Champions announcement builds on progress at the Federal and local level.
- On November 17, 2014, 16 mayors and other members of the President’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience presented recommendations to the Vice President on how the Administration can help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change.
- Knoxville, TN Mayor Madeline Rogero (D) set a short-term greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
- In September 2014, Los Angeles, CA Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) launched the Mayors’ National Climate Agenda, focused on U.S. cities, with Houston, TX Mayor Annise Parker (D) and Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter (D).
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: OPENING ACCESS TO QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS
The Administration continues to hear success stories from mayors who are working to enroll Americans in affordable and quality health insurance across the country. Mayors across the country are opening up their facilities for navigators, hosting enrollment events, and finding innovative ways to enroll uninsured Americans.
- Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter (D) worked with partners to train city employees in seven public-facing city departments to ask each resident they interact with if they have health insurance. If the resident indicates they do not have coverage, the city employees offer them assistance including an appointment with a Navigator, printed materials and the option for a phone call from an enrollment specialist.
- In, Tampa, FL Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) had over 3,000 church fans printed with instructions on how to enroll for ACA on each side of the fan.
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER: ENSURING ALL CHILDREN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED
In September 2014, President Obama issued a challenge to cities, towns, counties and tribes across the country to become “MBK Communities.” This challenge represents a call to action for all members of our communities, and mayors in particular, as they often sit at the intersection of many of the vital forces and structural components needed to enact sustainable change through policy, programs, and partnerships. Over 100 mayors have taken on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge and are working to increase opportunities for all young people across the country—to ensure they can achieve their full potential regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born.